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Illegal tobacco seized from Koonoomoo farm

April 06, 2018

The Australian Taxation Office has seized 17.6 tonnes of illegal tobacco and 44 kilograms of seedlings from a farm in Koonoomoo.

The tobacco seized on Thursday has an estimated excise value of more than $16 million.

The warrant action is in addition to a number of operations since July 1, 2016 where officers led 23 operations seizing more than $170 million of illegal crops.

‘‘Engaging in the illegal tobacco trade not only supports organised criminal syndicates, it also robs the community by denying them of taxes that would be raised,’’ Assistant Commissioner Peter Vujanic said.

‘‘The ATO takes the detection and prosecution of illegal tobacco growers very seriously to help protect the community.’’

Growing tobacco without an excise licence has been illegal in Australia for more than a decade.

There is no legal avenue for Australian grown tobacco to be manufactured and sold.

‘‘The ATO is concerned that famers in these areas may be targeted by organised criminal organisation or be at risk of unintentionally becoming involved,’’ Mr Vujanic said.

‘‘If you are approached about growing tobacco or think you may be unwittingly involved in growing illegal groups, you should let the ATO know.’’

To report a concern, call 1800 060 062 or visit:

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